West Coast Fever have been dealt another huge blow after star midcourter Verity Simmons made the shock decision to retire from professional netball.
Simmons announced the surprise decision on Friday, bringing an end to a career that spanned 159 National League games along with three caps for the Australian Diamonds.
The 32-year-old was a key player in the Fever's 2022 Super Netball title success, with her on-court toughness and uncompromising fitness levels proving to be a valuable weapon.
Her unexpected early exit comes on top of the loss of captain Courtney Bruce and grand final MVP Sasha Glasgow.
Defenders Rudi Ellis and Kim Jenner have also departed, while Emma Cosh wasn't offered a new deal.
"I've made this decision because my heart isn't in it 100 per cent anymore," Simmons said in a statement.
"At the top level you need to be all in at all times.
"Personally, I think it would be selfish of me to continue my netball journey with West Coast Fever, when there will no doubt be someone else itching to take my place.
"I will miss this great club, this amazing team and the incredible Green Army more than I can put into words, but I know this is the right decision."
Simmons began her career with West Coast in 2012 before crossing to the Queensland Firebirds for two seasons, which included the 2015 title-winning campaign.
She returned to Fever in 2016 and her star performances led to her international debut in 2021.
Simmons notched her 150-game National League milestone last season.
"No one epitomises team spirit and competitive grit better than our Vez and the legacy she leaves behind in the green dress will help to drive the future of West Coast Fever," coach Dan Ryan said.
"Her work ethic was unrivalled and her ability to dig deep in the face of adversity was so inspiring.
"Those traits were complemented with great humility, infectious positivity and a touch of grace in everything she did. That's a legacy to be proud of!
"She's been an absolute joy to coach and really is everything you want in a professional athlete and teammate."
Australian Associated Press